Marketing is important to every business, no matter what your size. Marketing is used to identify the customer, satisfy the customer, and keep the customer. And, all of us are interested in those activities, aren’t we?
So often we get confused between marketing and advertising. I like to think of marketing as a large pie. Some of the pieces in that marketing pie are advertising, public relations, research, pricing, distribution, customer support, sales strategy and so on. All of those activities make up your marketing and should be defined in your marketing strategy.
It used to be just about the 4 P’s:
- Product – what you sell.
- Price – how you price it (low-cost, value or luxury pricing).
- Place – where you sell it.
- Promotion – how you sell it (advertising, public relations, promotional programs, promotional budget).
Today, we have added 3 additional P’s:
- People – the staffing required to turn a prospect into a customer and to keep the customer coming back for more.
- Process – the entire experience a prospect/customer has when interacting with your organization.
- Physical evidence – the proof you are what you say you are. Example: If you claim to be a fine dining establishment, the physical evidence could consist of white tablecloths, suited servers, fine china and a gourmet menu.
All of these P’s need to be taken into consideration when developing your marketing plan. Of course, there are other components of a marketing plan. Such as a SWOT Analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats); a Competitor Analysis and how you rank; your primary and secondary customers’ profiles; customer buying patterns and your unique selling proposition (what makes you different).
For a small business, you can develop your own strategic marketing plan, by following the process. Many of you are probably thinking, “I don’t have the time for this” or “I’m too busy to plan”. Let me assure you that the time you spend developing your marketing plan will be time well spent.
No longer do companies, large or small, have the money to throw against the wall and hope that something will stick. We need to be focused and strategic when spending our marketing dollars. Most importantly, we need to be measuring the spending of those dollars to make sure we are getting a return on the marketing investment.
When developing your marketing strategy, try to integrate as many channels as possible. Some examples of marketing channels are:
- Direct mail
- Social media
- Mobile marketing
- RSS Feeds
- Newspaper/magazine ads or inserts
I’m sure you can think of other channels to add. What I can tell you is that your marketing will be more successful when you use more than one channel. Research has shown that customers who interact with you over multiple marketing channels will buy more, buy more often and be more profitable. Let’s face it, not everyone will open your email, read your direct mail or listen to your commercial. But, if you are using multiple channels, you are more likely to connect with them over the channel they prefer.
The same logic holds true for response channels. Allow your prospects and clients to respond to you in their channel of preference – phone, email, mail or website. You want to make it easy for them to do business with you! Visit our Resource Center at www.multi-craft.com for other tips to help you in your marketing efforts.